April 24, 2013 Subject:
A piece of TV history
One of the cleaner recordings of 1950s TV. This episode of "Life With Buster Keaton" features some typically flimsy excuses for him to show us his gift for conedy "Business". From taping a man's broken spectacles to hanging taffy from a coathook, the routines are something that probably came from vaudeville as performed by many others. But here they are done by a master. The script has some occasional sparks of witty dialogue, but the physical stuff is what people enjoy the most. I recognised Harvey Parry as one of the supporting cast - he was a legendary stuntman from Hollywood's silent era, who doubled for Harold Lloyd on some of his most famous movies. Fans of Keaton's movies from the 1920s will appreciate this opportunity to compare them with this example of his later performances, but I would not recommend this series as his finest work. His film classics were his finest creations, with innovation in writing, direction and performance. This is a re-working of some old comedy routines for a brand new medium, which sometimes works and sometimes does not. Sophisticated TV comedies now would probably find better ways to make use of his skills.